Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Viewing the House

So this morning I got to see Sam's House in person. As with many things, it is even better in person. And as with many things Nepali, it's always curious to see what Dinesh leaves out in his description.

For example, in the front yard, not visible in the pictures, stands a large, wrought-iron gazebo covered so deeply in bougainvillea (sp) that the inside is completely shaded. Inside the gazebo is a wicker table with matching chairs. Now I don't know how the gazebo will serve Sam's House, which is probably why Dinesh left it out, but it's a pretty stunning feature. I'll put up a picture later.

Also remiss from earlier description is that the house stands on the converted "Rhinestone Tennis Club" of Pokhara. The older gentleman who owns the house is a former tennis pro and he built the club on this site, though now the court area is overgrown and boxed in with a large stone wall. Halfway up the side of the house you can see spotlights affixed to the stone for night games.

The inside of the house is nice and bright and, walking through with Dinesh, it was great to hear how he and Rekha have envisioned all the rooms. Just fantastic.


Yesterday Dinesh picked me up from the airport in his new car, which as you may remember, I had to drive home for him when it was purchased. Dinesh is driving now and it was quite a thrill to rush through the streets of Pokhara in a Maharuti.

Today we were driving downtown and I told Dinesh we needed to give his car a name.

"But my car already has a name. It is called a Gypsy." (The model is Maharuti Gypsy)
"Yes, I know but it needs another name. It should have another name." (How to explain the American tradition of nicknaming cars.) "My first car was the Millenium Falcon, then the Valdez, the Bu, and Trigger." (Kind but unappreciating silence from Dinesh.)

Irregardless of Dinesh's response, I still think his car needs a name so I'm putting it out to all of you. Name the Rajbhandari's car. I'll submit all the entries to Dinesh and Rekha then choose the one I like the best.

If you want pictures for inspiration, click on the "June 2006" link on the right side of the blog.


So the rest of this post is rather graphic but the details are necessary to "color" the entire scene. And, in retrospect, it seems too classic to leave out any details.

On Monday, in KTM, I walked to Boudhanath in the late morning, one of my favorite places to go. It's a long walk, about three miles one way, but with not much else to do, I figured it would be a pleasant way to spend the day.

On the way home, however, I started feeling really tired, which struck me as odd since I had had a long sleep the night before. I pushed on, obviously, and made it home, blaming my fatigue on persisting jet lag. Who knows.

Our friend Santosh was planning to visit me at 6pm in the lobby for tea. About 5:30p I went down to the lobby with a book and to chat with the front desk guys, something they'd rather do with Jen because of her good looks and my bad Nepali, but they'll have to suffer me until May.

When I get to the lobby I realize I've locked my key in my room. This is no big problem, I figure, because I'll just notify the front desk after Santosh leaves.

Santosh arrives and we order tea and right when I take a sip I realize I'm more than tired--I'm not feeling well. And then I remember that I haven't had an appetite since the day before. I ate Zone bar at 8am this morning but nothing else, save a Coke.

I excuse myself from Santosh, saying there's something I want to get him from our room, though there's nothing but an envelope I've already given him. Then I remember that I'm locked out. I ask Sachin at the front desk to let me in and he says he'll call maintenance for me.

I return to my seat with Santosh and push on through some more conversation but the gas in my stomach is starting to rock and roll, but I wasn't yet sure if I would vomit. I ask Sachin about maintenance and he tells me the maintenance worker is at dinner and he will open the door in a few minutes. Of course I say "no problem" and return to Santosh, who has abided these interruptions with all kindness.

Before I can bid Santosh farewell I excuse myself again. I'm not sure why I didn't elect to use the public restroom in the lobby, but for some reason, I felt I should be sick in private. I left Santosh sitting in the lobby again.

The maintenance worker materializes and we go up in the elevator together. He is trying to talk to me but I can barely respond. Naturally my room is at the end of the hallway. We walk down and he begins going through his keys. First one, nope. Second one, nope. Third one, nope. He goes through the entire ring of at least 15 keys and none works. I'm bent over at this point with my hands on my knees, staring at the floor, feeling sweat on my back.

He starts the ring of keys over again and after three or four more tries he opens the door. I push past him and take off my fleece vest. Then (don't know why) I look for my key, as if I needed to let the maintenance guy know this was a legitimate call (which it was. At the time I locked myself out I didn't know I was going to be sick, but somehow I still felt explanation was necessary--this is my biggest problem in life). I find the key next to the TV and hold it up for him to see. I lurch forward toward the bathroom but don't even get the door open when the first wave rushes out--in the hallway, on the wall. Then I bang the door open and dump another blast on the bathroom floor, finally scrambling my way to the side of the bathtub so I can have my final heaves in the right place. (The best part is still to come)

So I'm sitting there on the side of the tub, wretching into the toilet. And even before I'm through, I'm already lamenting the clean-up process, or lack thereof. The maintenance guy has poked his head around the door frame so he can see me but without standing in the much. "Sir? Thik chha? Sir?" I apologize profusely, embarrassed as hell. I ask him to bring me some towels while I sit hunched over, waiting for the end.

When I grew up, we had something euphemistically-known as "Norbert powder" named for Norbert DeWitt, the janitor at my grade school who would dump a bag of powder on top of vomit, when this occurred in class. Later, Norbert came with a vacuum--vomit gone! I already know that I'm not going to get Norbert powder to clean up this spill. In fact, I'm guessing I'm going to have to live with this odor until I check out. I was partially right.

The maintenance guy reappears with a bag of dirty towels which he dumps on the floor and we begin swishing them back and forth, over the carpet, over the tile, using our feet. When these are saturated, he holds open a plastic bag. I pick them up and drop them in. Nevermind that we have failed to get the spots between the tiles where the grout is. And frankly, at that moment, I didn't care.

So with splotches of rank on my shirt, I walk back downstairs where Santosh is STILL WAITING and with a smile on his face. I explain to him that I'm sick and have to go back up. He kindly wishes good-bye and leaves. I feel terrible to have ushered him out like that but beyond my control.

Best part still coming...

Nepalis are so kind when they know you are ill and everyone has a remedy. Back in my room, I quickly get into bed and I'm shivering with a fever. The maintenance guy comes back to my room to see how I'm doing. I tell him I'm fine but cold. He checks the unit in my room and discovers the heat does not work. I try to tell him that's OK, but he's determined to fix it. He leaves and one of the waiters from the restaurant, sent upstairs by Sachin, asks if there's anything I need. I say "no" and then ask him what he thinks. He suggests lemon and hot water and I say fine, please bring me some.

The waiter returns with the hot water and the maintenance guy and they both set to fix the heating unit. I tell them it's OK but they persist. Then another maintenance guy walks in to help. So, I'm shivering with the covers pulled over my head, still smelling foul in all my clothes, and there's three guys in my room trying to fix the heater. Then the phone starts to ring...

First it's Santosh calling from the bus stop to see if I'm all right. Then it's Anita from the bar. And then Sachin calls from the front desk. Then Jen calls (15 times*)...

Truth is, there's probably no better place to get sick than Hotel Tibet. It turns out I had some 24-hour flu bug and right now I'm good as gold. The fever was gone by next morning. I ordered some tea the next day and the waiter brought it to my room. I had been in the room so long, I had forgotten about the smell, which I quickly remembered when I saw him quickly retreat without saying goodbye. Good grief.

Anyhow, those were my last 36 hours in Kathmandu. It's good to be in Pokhara. Lots to share about Sam's House in the coming days.



mff said...

CB -
Glad you are feeling better and finding humor in malady. I had a similar experience in DC when Quiznos poisoned me and I "decorated" the WH Medical Center floor to ceiling - mortifying.
In brighter news, the house sounds beautiful and I know we hope to see it in person some day. I have such a great vision of little ones running around and playing in the grass -- it is so special to see this dream of yours and jen's become a reality. We are so proud of you and blessed to have your inspiration in our lives. Take care over there. xoox mf

Jells said...

Yea, I'm sure it was "the flu". Thanks for the graphic description of your evening - you probably had too many cherry bombs.

Glad to hear about the crib, sounds like a wonderful place for the children.

I have a few ideas for the car name: Snow Dog, Silver Bullet, Bob, Burt, "Hooooo!" (Big), The Schmidt, - I'll think of a few more.

Sheila said...

Sweet digs, can't wait for the pics.

Perhaps in honor of the tennis club, Dinesh's car could be the "Rhinestone Cowboy."

I contracted one of those horrible intestinal bugs before my 10th high school reunion--except i didn't know it. As a result after dancing to "Walk this Way," I walked my way to the bathroom and decorated the entire wall in the hotel's public bathroom (where the gala event took place). Luckily the hotel staff were very nice about it and didn't kick me out of the party. I kept telling them that I really hadn't had anything to drink that night, and I'm not sure they believed me. So it goes.

Irwin and Ruth said...

Hey Chris, We all have our "puking stories"! Yours has to be included in the book someday...The house sounds wonderful! We continue to wish you the best in the days ahead. All is well in Morris. The weather is treating me kindly-so far. Greetings to Dinesh and family. Take care!